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A Black Sheep Meaning, Examples and Synonyms 

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A Black Sheep Meaning

The meaning of the idiom a black sheep is a metaphor to refer to someone who is a disgrace to a group or family. It generally confers to someone who is considered worthless or a failure by the other members of the group or a third person based on their behaviour. 

When someone is called a black sheep they are metaphorically termed as the outcasts among a group. Therefore this idiom can also be used for people who are different or out of place in a community, niche, organisation or any other setting. 

The person referred to here can be a failure or a rebel. They can even be just misunderstood or too introverted to engage. This idiom creates an idea for a person whose behaviour is characteristically different from the rest of the people in the group. 

Also Read: Hook Line and Sinker Meaning

Usage with Examples

The idiom ‘A Black Sheep’ can be used in many contexts. It is commonly used to mark suspicious people or traitors. It can also be used to refer to people who do not fit in. They can often be an embarrassment to the lot. 

The phrase originated from the occasional black sheep that are born in flocks of white sheep. Their wool is considered undesirable and in 18th and 19th century England, they were a mark of the devil. Hence, the derived explanations are quite explanatory.

It is generally used to refer to a third person while talking and is not often used openly. Gossips put this idiom to great use to refer people in family, offices and friend circles. It can also be used in serious conversations like that of political or investigative backgrounds. 

Here are some examples of usage of the idiom, ‘A Black Sheep’.

  1. The economic situation of the country is destitute, the finance minister seems like a black sheep of the cabinet. 
  2. Her second child is a black sheep, he opted to be a pianist in the family of doctors. 
  3. There was a black sheep at the conference, she could not stop blabbering in between important discussions. 

Also Read: Useful Idioms with Examples, Sentences and Meanings

Synonyms and Similar Words to A Black Sheep Meaning

Here are some other phrases, words and idioms that mean the same as ‘A Black Sheep’.

  1. Pariah
  2. Bad egg
  3. Ne’er-do-well
  4. Outcast
  5. Good for nothing
  6. Prodigal
  7. Reject
  8. Malefactor
  9. Reprobate

A Black Sheep Quiz

___________, no one thought he would turn out to be a black sheep. 

  1. His behaviour was sloppy, 
  2. He ate all the pudding,
  3. He seemed too nice at the party,

Ans. He seemed too nice at the party,

Also Read: Idioms for IELTS

This was all about the idiom get your act together meaning and examples. Hope you understood the concept where it’s used. For more such blogs, follow Leverage Edu.

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